The Springfield-Greene County Health Department (SGCHC) announced Monday that 17 county residents are now confirmed to have been infected with COVID-19.
Four of the new cases is connected to Morningside of Springfield East, the first cases connected to an assisted care facility. SGCHC is working with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to contain the situation at the center.
“This does…mark a turning point in our community,” SGCHD Director Clay Goddard said a press briefing. “We believe this to be evidence of community spread, which you’ll remember is that point where we cannot find a direct tie from a newly diagnosed case, to a previous case, or to travel related cases.”
“We take every case seriously,” Goddard continued, “I would say that we take them personally. I don’t want people to be sick in Greene County. It makes me sad, I would venture to say that it makes me a little bit angry when people get sick because we want to fight situations like this.”
Dean Linneman, Director of Regulation & Licensure for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, said at a press briefing that Morningside was working with their offices and putting into place all of their recommendations for stopping the spread of COVID-19.
Goddard said that his staff have been working 24 hours a day on tracking the cases and being proactive to help the community. However, he said there is a section on this that falls onto the public, and he said the advice might seem “counterintuitive” to those who hear it.
“As much as possible, we need everyone to do nothing right now,” Goddard said. “That means that you stay at home. You don’t mingle in social settings. Because by mingling, we are creating opportunities for the virus to spread…even if you’re healthy, you can become gravely ill from this.”
Goddard also called out those in the public who are not taking social distancing seriously, nothing that they can spread the virus to our most vulnerable citizens.
“You’ve got to help me, you’ve got to help our healthcare community fight this,” Goddard said. “It’s a community fight.”
Goddard addressed the shelter-in-place orders in St. Louis and Kansas City.
“Our community is doing what is covered in a lot of these orders already,” Goddard said. “I want to stress that our community leaders have very much been ahead of the curve. They have been proactive, they’ve been forward thinking, and they’ve been thoughtful in their approaches.”